Find Your Way 2017-18

An annual programme of sector-specific mentoring and placements

for senior and emerging managers in ABO member organisations

Applications are now open and will close at 5pm on Monday 18 September 2017.

What is Find Your Way?
Designed to utilise the existing resources, artistic skills and expertise of the ABO and its members, Find Your Way offers emerging leaders the opportunity to discover their long-term potential. The 9-month programme, starting in October 2017, offers professional development based around a tailored Individual Development Plan co-developed with an experienced coach.

Richard Wigley of Wigley Arts Management Ltd, a company designed to provide high level support to the orchestral sector, and currently Managing Director of the Ulster Orchestra, will lead the Find Your Way programme. He will be joined by Andy Beaumont, leadership trainer. Fiona Harvey, ABO Education & Youth Ensembles Consultant, is the programme’s Project Manager.  

Who is it for?
The ABO is looking for 6 participants who have ambitions for orchestral leadership. You should have at least five years’ paid work experience in the orchestral/classical music/arts sector. In the cohort of 6 there will also be one place for an orchestral musician who has aspirations to develop their career in management.

What will be included in the programme?
At the heart of Find Your Way is the commitment of ambitious managers (and musicians) to drive their own knowledge, skills and profile, in combination with mentoring from orchestra CEOs. In return it is expected of the participants that they will contribute energy to their mentor's orchestra through assisting on agreed projects, research, ideas etc, to bring valuable new thinking to their own organisations and the ABO Annual Conference (in a Fresh Thinking session). Alumni from the pilot and first year programmes are available to advise applicants about the programme, on request through the ABO (see bottom of the screen for a list of alumni). Equally the ABO expects that successful participants will contribute ideas for improving future Find Your Way programmes.

Features of Find Your Way are:

  • Three group meetings, 23 October, 13 November and 11 December 2017
  • Individual Development Plan co-designed by each participant with Richard Wigley
  • Psychometric testing using Thomas International Personality Profile Assessments and associated coaching by Andy Beaumont
  • CEO-level mentoring (up to 6 one-to-one sessions)
  • Placements at their mentor's orchestra
  • Attendance at the ABO Conference, 24-26 January 2018 in Cardiff
  • Co-design and co-lead, with the other Find Your Way participants, a Fresh Thinking session at the ABO Conference
  • Participation in a 3-day residential management training course*
  • Final group meeting, 16 July 2018

Guest speakers from the classical music sector are also invited to Find Your Way group meetings, to provide different perspectives and additional learning.

* The residential course in 2018 is conditional on successful fundraising, the outcome of which will be known by autumn 2017.

The cost
Find your Way is part-funded by the ABO Trust and each participant’s orchestra/ organisation is expected to contribute a fee of £1,000 plus VAT.

What’s included:

  • ABO Conference: delegate fee
  • Residential course: delegate fee, accommodation and meals/refreshments (pending successful fundraising)

What’s not included:

  • Travel: to and from group meetings; to and from meetings with your mentor; to and from ABO Conference; to and from the residential course; to and from any additional training or meetings
  • ABO Conference: Conference dinner and concert, and accommodation
  • Accommodation: if required when attending meetings with the other participants, or mentor

Time commitment
Find Your Way aims to be a programme that is tailored to your professional development needs, determined by you, with a balance between a flexible programme of mentoring, training and meetings within a 9-month structure. There are key elements that the ABO would hope you will attend e.g. the first three group meetings, the ABO Conference/ the Fresh Thinking session, the residential course and the final group meeting. The rest of the programme should fit around your working life, and we would encourage you to talk to your CEO/line manager about participating in the programme before submitting your application.

Participation in the programme will provide the following outcomes:

  • Increased individual motivation, confidence, morale, productivity, focus and creative enterprise
  • Sector specific training
  • Fresh Thinking to help drive the industry forward
  • New skills (hard and soft) that can be shared in the participants’ home organisations
  • Preparation for increased responsibilities for individuals
  • Mentored employees will better understand the value of collaboration and sharing of information, bringing new thinking to their home organisation

How to apply
Please download and complete the application form here. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to participate in phone interviews on Thursday 28 September.

If you have any specific questions about the programme please contact Fiona Harvey, ABO at

Previous participants
The 2015-16 pilot programme year participants were: Cath Arlidge, CBSO; Flo Ambrose, Royal College of Music, Tim Davy, London Symphony Orchestra, Patrick McCarthy, Ulster Orchestra and Sue Voysey, The Halle.  The 2016-17 programme year participants were: Anthony Brice, Academy of Ancient Music; Jenny Chadwick, Academy of St Martin in the Fields; Matt Downes, Welsh National Orchestra; Jeongmin Kim, London Philharmonic Orchestra; James Thomas, Sinfonia Cymru; and Alex Walden, BBC Concert Orchestra.


“Time spent with my mentor was also highly inspiring and useful in terms of understanding their style of leadership”

“I feel I was incredibly lucky to be paired with my mentor who has been absolutely fantastic. The perfect person for me to speak to and has provided me with a lot of reassurance and confidence for the future”

“My expectations (of the residential course) were exceeded. The course was well paced, of the right intensity and it was a pleasure to work with everyone who was there.”

“I feel that we covered so many key areas over the weekend and it gave me a great overview of so many topics, far more than I thought we would cover. I also felt that the weekend was shaped to the people who were on the course which was a huge positive.”

“As with the rest of Find Your Way it was wonderful to meet the new participants and find out more about their organisations, roles and backgrounds.”